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Elastomer: An elastomer is a polymer with the property of viscoelasticity (colloquially "elasticity"). The term, which is derived from elastic polymer, is often used interchangeably with the term rubber. At ambient temperatures rubbers are thus relatively soft and deformable. Silicone rubber is generally non-reactive, stable, and resistant to extreme environments and temperatures while still maintaining its useful properties. Due to these properties and its ease of manufacturing and shaping, silicone rubber can be found in a wide variety of products like breast implants and medical devices for example.

Pectoralis Major: A muscle located in the upper chest which provides support for the breasts and is necessary for arm movements.

High cohesive silicone gel: Silicone produced in a semisolid, semiliquid state, used as a filling in breast implants, similar in consistency to a normal breast that acts more like an unit than a fluid.

Implant rippling: Rippling refers to the visible edges of a breast implant that can be seen through the skin; and sometimes felt through the skin. This usually occurs on the outer/side region of the breast and is more commonly seen in saline implants compared to silicone implants. Also, women who are especially thin with little breast tissue are more prone to the rippling or wrinkling phenomenon.

Fibroadenoma: Fibroadenomas of the breast are small, solid, rubbery, noncancerous, harmless lumps composed of fibrous and glandular tissue. Because breast cancer can also appear as a lump, doctors usually recommend a tissue sample (biopsy) to rule out cancer. Unlike typical lumps from breast cancer, fibroadenomas are easy to move, with clearly defined edges.

Breast Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.   Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.   Ultrasound imaging of the breast produces a picture of the internal structures of the breast.
Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.   During a breast ultrasound examination the physician performing the test may use Doppler techniques to evaluate blood flow or lack of flow in any breast mass. In some cases this may provide additional information as to the cause of the mass.

Breast Self-Examination (recommendation of The American Cancer Society): Beginning in their 20s, women should be told about the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE). Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found. Finding a breast lesion does not necessarily mean that there is cancer.
A woman can notice changes by being aware of how her breasts normally look and feel and by feeling her breasts for changes (breast awareness), or by choosing to use a step-by-step approach (see below) and a specific schedule to examine her breasts.
The best time for a woman to examine her breasts is when the breasts are not tender or swollen. Women who examine their breasts should have their technique reviewed during their periodic health exams by their health care professional.

Women with breast implants have do BSE also. It may be helpful to have the surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. There is some thinking that the implants push out the breast tissue and may actually make it easier to examine. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding can also choose to examine their breasts regularly.

How to examine your breasts

* Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and turn as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
* Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
* Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue closest to the skin; medium pressure to feel a little deeper; and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you're not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.
* Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).   There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast, without missing any breast tissue.
* Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.
* While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (pressing down on the hips makes the chest wall muscles to contract enhancing any breast changes.)
* Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

Special Tips for Women with Breast Implants

If you have breast implants, you should perform breast self-examination monthly on your implanted breast. In order to do this effectively, you should ask your surgeon to help you distinguishing the implant from your breast tissue.
Press firmly inward at the edges of the breast implants to feel the ribs beneath, checking for any lumps or bumps. However, be careful not to manipulate (i.e., squeeze) too much the implant, specially those with anatomical shape. Any new lumps or suspicious lesions should be evaluated with a biopsy. If a biopsy is performed, care must be taken to avoid puncturing the implant.

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